6 Most Spectacular Festivals of Karnataka

Located in the south West of India, Karnataka is a vibrant state replete with splendid architectural wonders, dazzling beaches, diverse wildlife along with a rich historical & cultural background. Besides, the state is also famous for its grand festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Many festivals of Karnataka are conducted in the name of art, religion, seasons, and each festival is unique and has a different story. These are the best occations to experience the cultural and Karnataka Tourism. From the famous Dussehra festival of Mysore to the Kambala Buffalo race in Mangalore, these celebrations truly keep the audience off their feet. If you want to witness those vibrant festivities, make sure to book your Karnataka Tour Packages according to the festival dates. 

Here is a list of festivals that are quite popular in Karnataka.


Dussehra is one of the biggest festivals in India and is the state festival of Karnataka. Held in the month of September/ October, the 10-day festival was started in the 15th century by the Kings of Vijayanagara Empire and is celebrated in the city of Mysore with great pomp and glory. Also known as Navaratri, a special Durbar takes place in the Mysore Palace, which was attended by members of the royal family, special invitees, officials, and the public.

On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumbo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. The main attraction of this procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant. Colorful tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses, and camels form a part of the procession. Adorned with 10,000 beautiful light bulbs, the Mysore Palace is one of the best places to visit during this festival to get a great experience of the celebrations as part of Mysore Tour Packages.

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Shravanbelogola is a major Jain center in Karnataka, and Mahamastakabhisheka is a very important festival observed by Jains in Karnataka. Held once in 12 years, it draws millions of devotees from across the country to the Gomateshwara temple as part of the Shravanbelagola Tour Packages. During the event, the grand statue of Gomateshwara is bathed and anointed with milk, saffron paste and dusted with powders of turmeric, sandalwood, and vermilion. Each and every ingredient poured on the statue has a significance- water to cleanse the statue, sandalwood to spread the fragrance of Bahubali’s virtues, kashkachoorna to beautify, and cane juice to relieve hunger. At the end of the celebration, the statue is showered with flowers from the helicopter. This festival was last celebrated in 2018 and will next be celebrated in 2030. Shravanbelogola is one of the best places to experience Karnataka Tourism.

Hampi Festival

Also known as Vijaya Utsav, the Hampi Festival is a significant cultural event to commemorate the birthday of an ancient poet Purandaradasa who lived in Hampi and is normally celebrated in the month of January. With the beautiful ruins of Hampi serving as the backdrop, the 3-day long festivities take place annually at the Virupaksha Temple that lures thousands of people from all over the world as part of Hampi Tour Packages.

Organized and hosted by Karnataka tourism, the noted celebrities and artist from every corner of the world are invited to grace the festival with their talent. With things like decorated elephants, embellished architectures and classical dance, puppet shows, firework display, and music exponents, the festival reminds one about the lavish lifestyle of the colonial era people. Apart from the festival, Hampi is one of the most popular UNESCO world heritage sites in Karnataka.

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Makar Sankranthi

Makar Sankranti, also known as Pongal, is one of the biggest harvest festivals of Karnataka celebrated in the month of January every year. It marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Makara Rashi (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. Colorful decorations can be seen all around and also people draw beautiful rangolis outside their home.

On the day of Sankranti, people make their offerings to the deities, wear new clothes and enjoy dishes such as Sweet Pongal, Sankranti Yellu, Payasa, Vade, etc. The final day of the festival includes rituals to thank and offer prayers to the cattle known as Kanu Pongal. If you actually wish to be a part of the festivities and witness the traditional rituals, then visit Bangalore, Udupi, and Srirangapatna, among the top places to visit in Karnataka.

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Also called Gudi Padwa, Ugadi is one of the auspicious festivals celebrated in Karnataka that symbolizes the New Year for Kannadigas. If the legends are to be believed, then it said that it was on the day of Gudi Padwa that Lord Brahma initiated the creation of the universe. Observed in the month of March or April, this festival is also popular in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where people celebrate with a lot of joy and fervor as this period is believed to be very auspicious to mark new beginnings.

During this festival, the houses are decorated with flowers and fresh mango leaves, people buy and wear new clothes, and families get together to pray to the deities. Besides, the reading of the ‘Panchangam’ (the Hindu calendar) bearing the list of events for the year is a significant event in temples and homes during this time. Holige, hesaru bele payasa, mavinakayi chitranna and bevu bella are some of the special dishes that are prepared on this day. If one wants to see the full glory of the festival Ugadi, one should visit the hamlets and villages of Karnataka as part of Coorg Tour Packages.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Another important festival of Karnataka, Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day event celebrated in remembrance of Lord Ganesha’s birth in the month of August or September. In Karnataka, even before the festival starts, temples and houses are decorated with flowers and leaves to welcome Lord Ganesha. Hubli is one of the best places to witness the grand Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Karnataka.

In public places, clay idols of Lord Ganesha are placed in all the holy shrines and prayed upon while in the houses a small area of the house is cleaned, and the idol is placed and prayed upon. The main sweet dish of this festival is the ‘modak’, which is a dumpling made from rice/wheat flour stuffed with coconut, jaggery, dried fruits, etc. The Pooja continues for 9 days till the last of Visarjan which is celebrated with great pomp and mind-blowing percussions and processions. Then, the Ganapati is taken to a riverside and then immersed in the water.

Also Read : Great Places to Witness Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations in India

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